Unit 3 - Exploring media industries

Unit Learning Outcomes

Candidates will be expected to:

AO1Recall, select and communicate their knowledge and understanding of media products and the contexts in which they are produced and consumed. (10%)
AO2Analyse and respond to media texts/topics using media key concepts and appropriate terminology. (10%)

The aim of this unit is to encourage candidates to explore media industries and how they operate. This unit is worth 20% of the Double Award.

Candidates will explore a range of organisations that make up different sectors of the media industries. Candidates will gain a broad understanding of:

  • how media industries operate and within what constraints 
  • what products they make and the audiences for those products
  • the types of roles and employment opportunities available within the media
  • ownership, control and finance within the media industries
  • developments in media technology and their effects on production and consumption.

It is important for candidates to develop an understanding of the work and impact of media organisations in their area. This will help them to appreciate some of the complexity of the media industries.

If possible, links with media organisations should be made with the potential to support candidate learning. Visits to media organisations can be extremely beneficial, as can visits from media professionals. Opportunities for candidates to experience working practices at close hand will have a positive impact on understanding. However, it is recognised that not all areas have an appropriate concentration of media activity and it will be particularly important for teachers to research alternative organisations.

A further aspect for candidates to appreciate is that 'the media' are not static. Developments in digital communications technology continue to offer phenomenal opportunities for the media industries and the global marketplace has led to the consumer having access to media products worldwide. The changing size, composition and ownership of media organisations has led to media conglomerates with ambitions way beyond the domestic market.

Candidates will select two media industries from the following:

  • Print/Electronic Publishing
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Television
  • Film
  • Radio
  • Popular Music
  • Web-based Technologies/New Media

For each of the industries they choose, candidates will investigate:

  • how the industry creates a range of products to sell to particular audiences
  • how the industry and the products they make are influenced by ownership and control 
  • the job roles and working practices within the organisation
  • how the organisation is financed and regulated
  • the effects of developments in technology within this industry.

Work in this unit will help candidates to identify the ways in which the media industries 'produce' media products and will provide them with the necessary background knowledge needed for Unit 4 Responding to a Media Brief.

The unit is externally assessed to test candidates' knowledge and understanding of media industries and provide opportunities for them to apply that knowledge and understanding to a realistic stimulus. The external assessment will take the form of a written test of 1 hour 30 minutes duration. Section A consists of short answer questions, while Section B requires five longer responses to a stimulus.

The external assessment is targeted at the full range of GCSE candidates and thus is not tiered.